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to agree on an important thesis, however, we must be
careful not to be caught out, not to be surprised into a
suspension of historical criticism. And just as BolMg-
broke has been shabbily treated in English history
because both Whigs and Tories have had an interest in
prolonging misconceptions about him, so, in regard to
this question of historical study we must be prepared to
find the two main antagonists acting in connivance with
one another to pull wool over the eyes of the rest of us.
In any case, those who study the history of historical
science—even the local and recent history of it in their
own universities—must scrutinise very carefully the
things which historians say about themselves. Still
more must they be on guard against* things which
historians say about the state of their science in the
times immediately preceding their own.

Evep. in the late seventeenth-century, controversies
were taking place concerning the effects of the Norman
Conquest, the character of medieval society, the feudal
nature of Magna Carta, the meaning of the term " free-
man " in ancient documents, and the date and the
implications of the changes which led to the establish-
ment of the House of Commons—controversies curiously
akin to those of the last fifty years, and conducted in a
highly technical manner. They were carried on in
books, some of which were as unreadable as anything
with which I ever remember trying to cope—the docu-
ments shovelled together without any regard for literary
form, and everything much more indigestible than in
the modern treatises on the same subjects. Already in
the- middle of the sixteenth century it was noted that